Richard C. (Dick) Behnke Profile Photo

Richard C. (Dick) Behnke

April 22, 1932 — December 10, 2023

Winona

Richard C. (Dick) Behnke

Dr. Richard (Dick) Carl Behnke

Richard C. Behnke, 91, formerly of 900 Birch Blvd, Winona, for 50 years, passed away on Sunday, December 10, 2023, at the Mayo Clinic Hospital - St. Mary's Campus in Rochester, MN, following a stroke on December 1st. He was surrounded by family during the week-long journey, and went peacefully to his Heavenly home that Sunday afternoon. He was a beloved husband, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, uncle, friend, and man of God.

He was born on April 22, 1932, in Shawano, WI, the 4th son of Robert and Marie (Hess) Behnke. He graduated from Shawano High in 1950 following four sports-filled high school years. His basketball skills even took Shawano High to an unexpected Championship his senior year! Following graduation, he enlisted in the US Navy in 1951, and served for four years as a Corpsman 3rd Class - assistant to the doctors. He was honorably discharged in February 1955 and returned to Shawano where he began dating his sister Betty's best friend, Sharon Berg, at Betty's wedding.

Dick and Sharon married on November 5, 1955, at Faith Methodist Church in Shawano. Following their wedding, they moved to Milwaukee, WI, where it soon became apparent that Dick was being led to further his education by attending college.  He spent one year at UW – Milwaukee, but Winona State College was chosen to conclude his bachelor's degree with the intent of becoming a teacher.  He graduated in 1959. His first teaching job was at the high school in Weyauwega, WI, where he also coached various sports. After a year, they moved to Reedsville, WI, where he also taught high school and coached. They stayed in Reedsville for almost five years and during that time, he received his Master's in Education from Northern Michigan University in Marquette through taking classes over two summers.  He was compelled to take his education even further by pursuing his Doctorate Degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.

Following his graduation from IU in 1966, the family moved to Stevens Point WI where he taught at UW - Stevens Point. In 1969, he returned to his Alma Mater of Winona State to begin his professorship in the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Dept. He became a well-respected prof who expected nothing but the best from his students. He also taught the DUI classes in Winona for many years. Dick also served on the Winona school board for a number of years.  He taught at Winona State until his retirement in 1993.

Following retirement, he and Sharon traveled, volunteered for Meals on Wheels, and for their church, Redeemer Lutheran, where they have been members for over 50 years! Dick loved to golf and was a regular at Westfield Golf Course and enjoyed many rounds of golf throughout his life!! Unlike some good friends, a Hole in One eluded his scorecard! He was also a huge Green Bay Packers fan and enjoyed all of his game watching time and was especially thrilled to have been able to attend several games at Lambeau Field.

Dick loved his grandchildren and spending time with them. Many memories with them include Elderhostels, attending theatrical, dance, and sporting events, traveling, confirmations, graduations, weddings, and about anything that worked out for him and Sharon to attend! He was especially blessed to get to see great-grandchildren join the family!

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Sharon; and their children: Vaunie (Chris) Weaver, Plymouth, WI; Jody (Mike Layton) Thiele, Winona; Tim (Wendy) Behnke, Winona; and Brad (Jill) Behnke, Mahtomehdi, MN. He and Sharon have 12 grandchildren: Kinley (Tim) Bush and Kelsey (Zak) Paulus; Katelynn Lange and Danielle (Jaran) Defries; Zachary Behnke (Heidi Lee, fiancée), Bethany Behnke (Aaron Berkowitz), Marissa Behnke, Monica Behnke, Matthew Behnke, and Sophia Behnke; and Max Behnke and Cameron Behnke; plus 3 great-grandchildren: Lucius (Lange) Reed; Oliver Bush; and Milah Defries. He is also survived by his daughter, Cathy (Mark) Peters, Suamico, WI; grandchildren: Jennifer Anderson (Andre) Pells, Stephen (Tracy) Peters, and Dale (Jenny) Peters; and 10 great-grandchildren: McCullan Anderson, Ireland Anderson, and Rowan Pells; Ian Peters, Josephine Peters, and Madelyn Peters; and Emryn Peters, Eowyn Peters, Roland Peters, and Ari Peters. His youngest of two sisters, Betty Lemke, Ocala, FL; and sister-in-law, Carmen Timm, Shawano, WI, also survive him along with many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, one sister, a great grand-daughter, Riven Peters, and many friends and relatives who he is now celebrating with in Heaven.

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1664 Kraemer Dr., Winona.  Visitation will begin at 1 pm and the service will take place at 4 pm concluding with Military Honors presented by the American Legion Leon J. Wetzel Post 9 of Winona.  A time of food, fellowship, and sharing memories will follow. Internment will take place at a later date. 

Suggested memorials would be to: Grace Place in Winona; Redeemer Lutheran Church in Winona; a WSU scholarship fund; or a charity of your choice.

The family extends a huge thank you to all the doctors, nurses, and support staff at Mayo for their commitment to dad’s fight his final week and for the genuine compassion for him and all of us during those challenging days.

Please visit www.watkowski-mulyck.com to leave online condolences or memories, and to view a video recording of the service when it becomes available.

The family also appreciates the exceptional, caring service the Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is providing at this difficult time.

 

    

 

 

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Visitation

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

1:00 - 4:00 pm (Central time)

Redeemer Lutheran Church

1664 Kraemer Dr, Winona, MN 55987

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

4:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

Redeemer Lutheran Church

1664 Kraemer Dr, Winona, MN 55987

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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